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  • authored by <apple box>
  • published Sun, May 19, 2002

FREE TIME

I have a friend working for OWFG that got busted for free timing by the UFCW. As a result he landed in hot water and documentation indicated further infractions of the same nature would result in a two week suspension without pay. Needless to say he learned a lesson. A year and a half later he stayed to complete an order he was writing and got nabbed for not recording the extra hour it took. Now the UFCW is handing him down a two week suspension. My question is what can he do to save his hide on this. Suspension seems a bit harsh with a year and a half time gone by. Shouldn't he also have representation from his union to protect him on this. i know the Collective agreement supports the UFCW action on this but a year and a half??? comon.If this goes through he faces termination on any future infractions. The UFCW won't comment on how he should proceed. What are his dues for? This is a great employee who is respected by all he works with. The machine is taking this one hour incident way too far in my opinion. If this was a cronic problem where BU employees were being denied hour I would understand. Look nobody on this site might agree with me but I would like to here your point of veiw on this. He needs help.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, May 19, 2002 1:57pm

quote:


Needless to say he learned a lesson. A year and a half later he stayed to complete an order he was writing and got nabbed for not recording the extra hour it took


Looks like as fast as he learned the lesson he forgot it. Doesn't your friend think his time and effort are worth anything?

IMHO. Free time should not be tolerated. It sets the rest of the employees up and does nothing to add respect for what and how much we do for any employer. The problem persists because the machine has not been consistant with enforcing, which does not excuse your friend.

Two weeks might sound harsh but when your friend worked free time he hurt the rest of his co-workers.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Sun, May 19, 2002 2:01pm

Sorry, I know I'm going to sound really naive for asking this but: how is it that a union imposes a suspension on a worker? Where does its authority to do this come from and what exactly did this member do to warrant a penalty this severe? Shouldn't they be going after the employer instead?

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, May 19, 2002 3:10pm

1518/OFG CA has the following:

quote:


5.15 Time Clocks: The Employer shall provide each store with a time clock in order to enable employees to record their time for payroll purposes. Employees shall record their own time at the time they start and finish work and the time they commence and return from meal periods. Employees who fail to record all time worked in the manner required by this Subsection shall, upon complaint of the Union, be disciplined as follows:

- I st violation

one (1) week suspension without pay



- 2nd violation

two (2) weeks suspension without pay

- 3rd violation

termination of employment.

Suspensions shafl be implemented within fortyfive (45) days of notification by the Union unless a longer period is mutuafly agreed upon between the Union and the Employer or in the event that the requested suspension becomes subject to the Grievance Procedure.

Any such dispute shall be subject to the Grievance and Arbitration Sections of this Agreement. Any employee terminated for the above reasons shall not be entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice under Section 13 of this Agreement.

Management agrees to assume its full responsibility in seeing that all employees are compensated for all time worked. Management personnel who deliberately violate this provision shall be disciplined by the Employer. Where disciplinary action has been taken against a Manager under this section, the Union will, upon request, be advised what action has been taken.


Good point RV, my answer still stands but fining the employer sounds more to the point, shows you how brain washed we are.

  • posted by <apple box>
  • Sun, May 19, 2002 9:16pm

I would like to thank all who responded to my question on "FREE TIME". Some very good points!! I still think there must be a better way to enforce everyone getting paid for time worked without hurting the employee. It's not working anywhere and if it was this wouldn't be brought up as often as it is. Let's get rid of the problem by finding a better solution. Do time clocks take care of it? Why does the employer not want time clocks? anyone?

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, May 19, 2002 9:43pm

quote:


The Employer shall provide each store with a time clock in order to enable employees to record their time for payroll purposes


1518 has never enforced the time clock clause. (tho I believe some stores do have them.) Other than the obvious surveillance issue I didn't think time clocks are a bad thing, tho I have never had to use one. We sign in and out on paper, our breaks are limited but not timed. (not overtly). Time clocks for those who free-time would be a problem but not a deterent. Employee time theft would be easier to moniter.

I had always thought the time-clock clause was to protect us from abuse by the employer but after RVs' comment, "Shouldn't they be going after the employer instead?", I'll have to re-think my position on *time clocks*. Employers who expect workers to work off the clock won't be hampered by time clocks but rather by fines for employer time theft.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, May 20, 2002 4:55pm

Simple solution:

Time worked is recorded, either through time clocks or sign-in sheets or one of any other standard method of timekeeping.

Management is responsible for ensuring that workers hours are recorded and that they are paid for those hours.

Workers who are not properly compensated or whose time cards are tampered with or who are instructed to work off-the-clock, can grieve this or the union can grieve on their behalf.

This is the way it works in the rest of the unionized North American world. No reason why it can't work in the unionized retail food biz.

Honestly, I can't believe a union would take on the role of policing and punishing workers who are required by management (overtly or covertly) to work off-the-clock. Holy cow! Canada truly is becoming the biz-union maquiladora!

  • posted by <apple box>
  • Tue, May 21, 2002 8:48pm

My friend just got slapped with a two week suspension on the free time issue. Guess his dues really paid off. Wouldn't it be better to educate the poor b%$%$ard on the signifigance of his actions in a more constructive manner or is this just a good example of a pawn in a game of chess?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Tue, May 21, 2002 10:56pm

Ok, first of all apple box, I gave one of those letters to a very close friend of mine once because he was constantly staying late. In the end he got very sick and when his production fell OFG fired him for being a couple min late. The countless hrs he gave them off the clock didn't mean squat so I'd question the logic behind anyone giving OFG a damn thing extra because I've seen first hand how they don't appreciate it.

That being said, the union doesn't have a case here if what you've said rings true. Sorry folks but we expect management to follow the progressive rules of discipline as set out in William Scott yet we're now going to condone the union completely disregarding it altogether? Is that everyone's idea of unionism? That's like a smoker telling a kid he shouldn't smoke isn't it?

To say the UFCW is out of line is an understatement. He got his verbal warning a year and half ago and now, out of the blue with no other warnings leading up to this he's to sit out two weeks without pay? just how does that meet the test of progressive discipline? or are we saying the union's leadership has the right to disregard the laws of natural justice and apply what ever capricious and arbitrary brand of justice it see's fit? How then does this same union continue to approach management and expect them to rehabilitate an employee gone astray instead of just laying the boots to them?

Another warning's in order as well as being paid the overtime by the employer. If the employer has a problem with it they should take up the fact he worked unauthorized OT with the employee and give him a warning for that. I'd also explain to your friend the importance of working recorded time. For instance what if was injured during that unrecorded hrs? he should think about that.

  • posted by <apple box>
  • Tue, May 21, 2002 11:40pm

Isn't there any sunset clause that says after a specific time period an employee's corrective actions can't be used to proceed with further dicipline? Two years would certainly seem like enough time to start from scratch. Are there any cases that indicate this in past practice? I know of staff wanting to take a collection up to help a friend out in need. Isn't that a bit ironic!! To comment on your friend, I too have seen people become sick and slip through the cracks. It's not a prety sight.

  • posted by weiser
  • Wed, May 22, 2002 6:03am

What's odd here is the double standard. By setting two weeks as a reasonable suspension (that's 80 hours for a full timer or possibly 16 hours for a part timer)the union has set a standard for employer discipline. The UFCW has harsher disciplinary standards than just about any arbitrator in Canada would uphold. That's okay though because the UFCW wouldn't allow an arbitration on the suspension.

Now before I go any further, I say working free time is crap. It creates false prodictivity stats that the employer uses against other employees. As well, it lowers the hourly rate for work and increases the profit for the employer and bonus for the manager. For what?

Did the union ensure that the employee got paid for his or her free time? And let's not forget the pressure clerks are under to work free time. You've got a piece of crap for a CA that allows all sorts of retribution if you fall out of favour with management. How about graveyard shift? How about less hours. If you work two hours free time, you may get four hours extra scheduled.

That being said, the best way to curb free time is to hammer the employer. Free timers get paid for the hours worked, and they get the same amount of time (1X, 1.5X or 2X)docked from their schedule the next week. The employer should be made to pay the same amount of time directly to the union strike fund, or stewards' training fund.

The whole problem lies with the UFCW swallowing the companies' line that "we didn't know he was working past his shift. We don't want our employees working free time. We have no way to control these people.

That's a pack of lies. The employers laugh at who holds the title of "kings of freetime." They make a bundle off freetime. That's why they don't allow the union to come near a new store until it's open and running for a bit. That's where they really train employees about the fine art of free time.

It's pretty low if a union's purpose was to slip to simply controlling the workforce for the employer, and it would be sicker yet if a union took on the job of enforcer.

Why is it always the Power Source who are the bad guys?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Wed, May 22, 2002 4:56pm

No applebox, there is no sunset clause in the collective agreement. Any arbitrator can go back to the day an employee started and use any offence as "part of the record". Don't buy the B.A.'s BS about things not having any weight after so long. If it's part of the record it's part of the record.

  • posted by <apple box>
  • Sat, May 25, 2002 6:59pm

OK. So my friend has now been delivered his suspension for two weeks to be served within 45 days. This is a derect result of his infraction under 5.15 Employees who fail to record all time worked in the manner required by this Subsection shall, upon complaint of the Union, be disciplined as follows:

- I st violation

one (1) week suspension without pay

- 2nd violation

two (2) weeks suspension without pay

- 3rd violation

termination of employment.

I would think that if he went back to each occurence that he was found guilty of and doing so he found others on the time sheets that had failed to record time worked as laid out in 5.15 that he would have a good case for discrimination against the UFCW. This includes not filling out your time sheet at all. Technically not filling out your time sheet is not only failing to record time worked but also failing to possibly record for any OT. I would like some feedback on this as he builds his case against the machine that he's paid dues to for 30 years now.

  • posted by weiser
  • Sat, May 25, 2002 9:08pm

Two weeks is probably discriminatory because the company probably wouldn't get away with a two-week suspension for a similar type infraction.

Contrary to what Scott said earlier, time does heal most labour relations wounds. For example, if an employee was late on a regular basis and was disciplined up to and including a suspension, and if she was told that if she were ever late again, she would be fired, that employee might be in big trouble if she were late again the next week or perhaps the next month. However, if she stayed "clean" for a year, and was late by a few minutes, there isn't an arbitrator in Canada who would uphold a termination.

Now with that employee, if the union grieved the suspension, the union ( a good union that is) would demand the company's attendance records and time sheets. The company would have to show that they enforced their time and attendance policies uniformly and consistently. If they didn't, the suspension probably wouldn't stick.

The same should go for the union. The strange thing about this is any complaint about the CA is grievable. I'd file a grievance with the union. I know the union would tell the member to piss off, but that's when the news story hits.

"Union insists on harsh discipline for its own members." Discipline so harsh, employer would not be allowed to mete out similar punishment.

Let us know what the union has to say about the grievance. If they won't file one, let us know and I'll shop it around the media to see if we can drum up a story.

Unions shouldn't sue their members and they shouln't force employers to discipline union members. There are internal methods to resolving those types of problems. Is this a "partnering" agreement or a "tag team" beating up of union members?

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